Atuot vs. Reel: The Nuerisation and Dinkanisation of South Sudan’s Politics is Counterproductive – PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd


By Malual Zacharia, Kampala, Uganda

Monday, May 04, 2020 (PW) — I did love what Abolich Makoi wrote recently about Reel and how it (Reelism) is being wrongly preached across different platforms. This is not exactly what moved me to weigh in. my desire to write this piece is my conviction that unity is imperative and should be respected and protected.

When something wrong – misinformation and skewed history are being circulated and left unhandled and unattended to by leaders and people the communities look up to, then there is a duty for young people (women and men) and those considered outsiders to come in to assert their opinions because there is a vacuum left by this inaction and indecision, thanks to Abolich and the like minded personalities.

The insertion (actually planting) of the name Atuot and Reel in the constitution as a tribe by one or two persons without widely consulting all the stakeholders – traditional leaders, youth, women and intellectuals and the signing of this vice into our constitution without critical scrutiny by the president and hence the presidency must be condemned for its divisive intentions.

At the time when the country is rattled by mismanagement and maladministration, corruption, hyperinflation, insecurity and food insecurity, displacement, unemployment and underemployment, diseases and illiteracy and general dearth of social services, we have the obligation to confront the urgent issues at hand. We do not need wrong, trivial and wanton matters to consume our time and efforts. This debate has raged on for long, enough time.

Despite my regard for Bol Agau, his clique and party (SPLM IO), there is a moral duty to negate what they are pushing for. They are educated and must act so, the era of divisions and divide and rule are long gone. I like some cheeky behaviours in the group, but they have drifted here. Lest I distaste delving on this, there no need in the first place to actually join SPLM IO because both IO and IG are responsible for the current frailty and infirmity the country is in.

We ought to establish a novel party based on rule of law and constitutionalism for the country. This Nuerisation and Dinkanisation of the country’s (South Sudan) politics is counterproductive, if not “counterpunching” and unhealthy for young people like Bec George and Bol Agau, not the others. I also see no reason and significance in praising Rin Tueny, a corrupt, repressive and remorseless leader I have ever seen in Yirol, a real rogue. Anyway, the topic should not be “pandengised”

I thought we had young men in Bol, Bec, Chingong Aleth, Mayor Angong, Madeu Angong, Mounywir Marial, Malual Majak, Makur Garang, Adut Mabor, Nhial Achol, Malak Apugi, Bec Dhuor Balang, Dhuor Majak, Machiek, Rin Hassan, Machiek Malek, Abolich Makoi, Nhial Maker, John Sebit, Achol Athiec, Achol Alim, Majur Ador, Mangar Majak Majak Malak, Pac Akec, Makuei Thon, Majak Machar, Thon Ngor, Dhal Maker, Ayei Butic, Magok Makuac, Malith Maker and John Makoi to mention but a few.

We have to act, speak and speak immediately against anything wrong like this debate. YES, some of us are Reel some are Apek (maternal uncles) all of which are referred to as Atuot and Ciec. Our foundation and unity is being assaulted and attacked as we watch, come on!

We should not condone what is wrong. Our leaders are silent, especially those in Ciec and Aliab: Deng Athorbei, Machar Kacuol, Ayual Makoi, Mangar Buong, Bor Wutchok, Marial Nuor, Marial Chanuong, Tokmac Chanuong, Athian Majak, Ciec Mayor, Chol Martin, Chol Michael, Rin Tueny, Telar Ring, Aweirial Luong, Aguto Kok, Abut Thiongkol, Kulang Makeny, Makur Nhial, Makur Kulang, Ater Thon, Malual Gumwel and whoever is not mentioned.

We have existed and coexisted shoulder to shouder with one another as Yirolists and Dinkas. I can remember what Ater did to his fellow in Gogrial in the years of liberation (Operation Deng Nhial – ODN). “Ater mar, biya bany piny ne?” (My brother Ater, are you leaving me like this? I am not eloquent in thuokreel though resolute in what I want heard.  This was a statement by Majak Mading when he was wounded – to be left behind as SPLA was withdrawing.

Ater got the gut to turn his Korean (South) military jeep (petrol) to pick Majak, for the question was powerful and brotherly, Majak is still living to date. Makuei Ijong, despite being junior, had the energy to burry Thuc Lual as a brother and leader (actually pieces or body parts), when Rin attacked Marial Nuor in Yirol, those who died and exchanged bullets were both from Atuot and Ciec, DINKA for clarity. These are few examples of our brave commonality, brotherhood and coexistence that must and will exist for centuries.  

Breaking away from what and who has been part and parcel of you has painful formulae, well known in our communities and country. Even a young man who wants to found a family does so with the consent of the closest relatives if not all. This is referred to as the participation/involvement of stakeholders. I know our politics does not give room for such, but we must ensure the involvement of the stakeholders when we want to insert an item in the constitution – Telar Ring.

When we seceded from Sudan, there was a plebiscite. This matter cannot reach that level, it must be confronted with the right force and contempt it deserves. We should not believe in numbers (64 tribes) but quality. If the Bari speaking group is divided into a number of tribes, then that is their own problem which we should borrow, it existed even before the constitution was drafted. WE ARE REEL, ATUOT AND DINKA AT THE SAME TIME

If Bol and others feel the need for Reel identification as a distinct tribe is more lucrative than the unity of Atuot and Dinka in that regard, the best they can do is to move on severally and keep enticing others to join THEM till the process is complete – a 500 year process. Otherwise, they are fighting an unwinnable war. The fact that they insinuate the likely hatred of Dinka by other tribes is just a tacit ploy that cannot be accepted by the living unless “blind”. The misdeeds of a few Dinkas cannot be blamed on all, especially the youth like them (Bol and others).

Trying to cleanse ourselves when actually we are not dirty is a conspicuous manifestation of the wrongs we must have committed. Those who wronged others in the name of Dinka and would like to depart from realities must be held accountable. This is a country of diversity, the strength of powerful countries like USA and UK, we can be one. South Sudan being a member of UNO – I better call it a community of nations, we are obliged to respect one another and judge each other by their deeds, not their origin, creed or name – not every Dinka or Nuer things like the current leaders we purport to represent us, I even think differently.

Identifying ourselves narrowly at the expense of unity is perilous and odious. It must be stopped by all and immediately. The silent majority must be provoked to act and act now. Ciec community should not keep social distance here, these are your own brothers and sisters, with whom you have intermarried, phenomenon that will be there for ages.  Bitter wars have been fought between us, they should be a source of our unity and a common ground to craft common solutions.

Without one, the destiny and foundation of Yirol is shaken, a precursor that bigger problems will ensue. We have achieved and achieved prodigiously because of our “Dinkaness” not our “Reelness”.  Such a debate is actually getting a fertile ground due to the death of active and proactive leaders (urban) like MAKUR THOU and KUC ACHOL otherwise, Bol and others would be listless now or the whole issue would not have been mooted.

The author, Malual Zacharia, is an independent South Sudanese student in Uganda and can be reached via his email:

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